Monday, September 28, 2009

Expect the unexpected

That was the theme for me this past weekend on the Lake Forest Youth retreat...expect the unexpected!! I am actually thinking this should be a theme for all youth retreats based on my most recent experiences on them!

I was going on the weekend because I was asked to be the speaker for the high school students. I had planned, prayed and prepared with them in mind. Holly Worsley, a good friend of mine, was slated to speak to the middle school students. Holly had told me on Wednesday night that her mom was having shoulder surgery Friday afternoon. She also told me to keep that in the back of my mind JUST IN CASE something went wrong. Well, she and I both thought there was very little chance of that, of course.

Friday afternoon around 3pm, I received a text from Holly that things weren't going so well and she would let me know more in an hour. A few hours passed and I called Holly. Things had been a bit crazy for her ,as to be imagined, and she was getting ready to call to let me know she did not feel comfortable leaving her mom so she was not going to be coming on the retreat.

SO, I got off the phone and prayed and the decision was made shortly thereafter that I would be speaking to both groups.


I spoke Friday night to everyone all together...then we decided it would be best to split them up and have me speak to them separately, which meant speaking twice Saturday morning, Saturday evening,and Sunday morning.


It rained almost ALL weekend long...from Friday afternoon through late Saturday evening so all the outdoor activities that were planned obviously weren't going to happen. However, there were some students who braved the cold rain and went swimming in the lake anyway. After my talk Saturday night, I had planned to send the students out for 15 minutes to be alone with God. In the pouring rain, it is hard to get too excited about that,even though there were a few covered places. But by this point in the weekend, I had learned to...


So, I was reminded again this past weekend that GOD IS IN CONTROL. He will do what He is going to do, and He can work even when things don't go as planned.

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

"My word It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11

I pray that in spite of me and in spite of the circumstances of the weekend, lives were changed and choices will be made to follow Christ in deeper ways.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Every once in a while, it happens...

I knew I would feel this way at times...and I felt it today. As you know , my son, Zach, has Down Syndrome. It has been almost one year since he has entered into our lives! (His birthday is October 14)

Today while I was sitting outside of Taylor's ballet class, another mom was also outside the class, and she had brought her baby with her. It turns out her baby was born 2 days earlier than Zach. But here's the thing...her little girl was crawling. She was holding a cup and drinking from it. Her mom mentioned to her baby girl that she might be having lasagna tonight. Well, Zach can't crawl yet, he doesn't hold a cup, and he still doesn't have too much interest in solid food (now that is a problem I wish I had!!). I know he will be behind in a lot of milestones, and that is okay, but I also remember early on in this journey, a parent of a DS child telling me the hardest thing was when their child was next to a child the same age, because they could then clearly see the differences.

So tonight as I explained this to Phillip, I cried...and I cried hard. Why? Oh, I am not really sure. Sometimes it just hits me I guess. Zach has Down Syndrome. I still hardly even know what that is going to mean for him or for us. So, my heart hurt a bit today, but tomorrow, I will see his precious face, kiss those adorable cheeks, look into those captivating blue eyes of his, and we will go on!! Zach doesn't know the difference, and he seems to be fine not playing the comparison game!!! He just sat and looked at that other very busy eleven month old baby today and cooed and then went on having fun banging his trucks together. (-:

So, like I said, every once in a while, it happens. I feel sad...but then I go on, embracing the sweet gift God has given us in Zach! In fact, I think I will post this blog entry and go kiss his sweet sleeping self right now!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Alrighty, I am not gonna lie....I LOVE BIRTHDAYS!! I love celebrating! Not just my own, mind you..I get excited for other people on their birthdays and I especially get excited if I get the honor of being able to celebrate with them!!

The reality is that life is hard. There is a lot of pain in life. So, if we get a chance to celebrate, we should celebrate,right? Well, that is what I think.

So, last week happened to be my birthday!! The celebrating began on Tuesday(on my actual bday) and went on through Saturday!! I know, I am VERY blessed.

Some highlights included:
1) Dinner with my dear friend, Kim Schultz, on my birthday!! It had been a "not so great" day of diaper changing, meltdowns,(by one of my children-not me this time!!), a trip to the doctor, and an hour waiting on a prescription to be filled..SO, it was such a nice treat to end my day with great time with Kim!!

2) Facebook Birthday wishes from people-I read every one of them and was so thankful that people would take the time to wish me a happy bday!

3) Dinner on Thursday night with about 25 friends at eeZ Fusion! It was a blast!! Phillip had planned the evening and it could not have been more special! I loved having my friends all in one place (except those who were unable to attend!) and hearing them laugh and have a good time. It was very cool to look around, to see the smiles, hear the laughter and the craziness, and know that women were hopefully getting their tanks filled by being out of the home and with other women for the evening.

4) One of the gifts I received that evening was a book that Mary put together of letters from some of my friends. It meant so much to me and I sat and read the letters when I got home that night. A treasure of a gift!!

5) Went out with my family, my parents and my brother on Friday night! We try to get together to celebrate birthdays so it was fun to be together.

6) My mother in law made me a mini scrapbook of me growing up! I know it took a lot of time and love, so that was a special gift.

7) And for my final bday celebration, Phillip took me out on a special date Saturday night. We went to dinner uptown and had good conversation and a yummy dinner!! Then , we went to Amelie's French bakery and hung out there for a while. He then gave me my bday present,which was a gift certificate to a spa in Blowing Rock! I know, I have THE best husband in the world. He did an amazing job making this birthday extra special.

So, it was a fantastic week. And here is a take-away...we need to celebrate more often. We need to celebrate people!! We need to let them know how much they mean to us. We need to highlight their wonderfulness (is that a word?) Maybe not just celebrate on people birthdays, but every once in a while, get groups together and go out and just enjoy being together!! Life has enough stress, so let's take some time to celebrate when we can. It sure made a difference in my life this week as people took the time to make me feel special. And I think God smiled on that!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ballet/tap-here we come!!

Tay getting her tap on!!

We ventured into the world of extracurricular activities last week! Taylor is taking an intro to tap/ballet class once a week at Kingdom's Feet, a Christian ballet studio. It was fun to see how excited Taylor got. The day of the class, she couldn't fall asleep at nap time because she was so excited. She came downstairs after ten minutes or so wearing her leotard and her tights (tights on OVER the leotard, by the way!!).

They pray at the beginning of the class and end the class with a group hug!! They will learn about how to use dance as a form of worship to God-pretty cool!

Taylor has been "practicing" at home. Will keep you all updated as she continues to master the art of ballet and mother , like daughter-HA!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Refreshed by others

This has been a week that my heart has found great refreshment by being with others. I am a people person...a pretty high extrovert on the Myers Briggs, and I definitely get "energized" by being with people.
A few of these experiences stand out this week:
On Monday, I got to spend time with a very good friend, Liane Hamilton. We both had our first children in the same year (2005) and since then, Mason and Taylor have been good buddies too. Liane and I used to be youth leaders together, and now we share life together, have play dates with our kids, and talk about life, the Lord, raising children,etc. It is always good to be with her.
Tuesday night, I went to an Oasis leaders meeting with close to 20 other women who will be serving in our Oasis ministry. I looked around the room that night and was reminded of the fact that God has allowed me to serve alongside some incredible, godly, REAL, women at Lake Forest. That night, I came home energized.
Today, I got to sit in the waiting room at Levine Children's Hospital with Joe and Pam Sharp, and Pam's parents, as Sammi (Joe and Pam's daughter) had surgery. It was a joy to be with my friends and to share that time with them today. Again, I left that time energized.
And then tonight, I went to church to "serve" with other ladies from our Oasis prayer group. We were serving dinner for the women who are presently staying at our church as we are hosting a women's shelter for homeless women this week. I took Taylor and Zach with me. As seems to happen most times when serving, I got more from the women than I could ever give to them in one night! To sit and have dinner with them and to hear some of their stories, and to see the faith and courage these women have to keep moving forward despite hard circumstances...that encouraged and challenged me greatly. So many of the women loved on MY children and in turn, showed me more of Jesus tonight! Taylor almost had to be dragged away tonight to come home...she was having such a good time and was in heaven as one of the overnight guests painted Taylor's fingers and toes! Zach got held and loved on all night long. So, once again, I left tonight with my heart encouraged.
This week, I have been refreshed by the people God has placed in my path. It is so evident to me why God wants us to be in community with others. It is just better that way!!